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Best undergrad school?

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1
    Which is the best undergrad school for one who wants to take research in physics as his carrer?
    MIT?Princeton?I.I.T? :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2004 #2


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    What's IIT ?

    I don't think there's much of a difference between the top schools - especially at the Undergrad level. Of course, when it's time to apply for Grad School, you might want to put in more thought into ratings and such stuff.

    According to USNEWS : Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) (5.0 = highest)
    1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology = 4.9
    2. Stanford University (CA) = 4.8
    3. University of California–Berkeley = 4.7

    Notice that 'Physics/Sciences' do not feature in the list of fields for the undergrad level.

    The top Grad Schools for Physics are Cal Tech, MIT and Harvard


    Here's the Top 25 from the National Research Council : (score out of 5.0)

    1 Harvard 4.91
    2 Princeton 4.89
    3 MIT 4.87
    4 Cal Berkeley 4.87
    5 Cal Tech 4.81
    6 Cornell 4.75
    7 Chicago 4.69
    8 Illinois 4.66
    9 Stanford 4.53
    10 Cal Santa Barbara 4.43
    11 Texas 4.33
    12 Columbia 4.25
    13 Yale 4.21
    14 Washington 4.20
    15 UCLA 4.18
    16 Cal San Diego 4.10
    17 Penn 4.09
    18 Maryland 4.02
    19 Michigan 3.96
    20 Rutgers 3.82
    21 Wisconsin 3.79
    22 SUNY Stony Brook 3.76
    23 Minnesota 3.76
    24 Ohio State 3.75
    25 Rochester 3.65

  4. Aug 29, 2004 #3
    Thanks Gokul43201

    Thanks for the info.
    I am living in India & IIT is Indian Institute of technology

    If you watch BBC you will know that IIT=Harvard +MIT+Princeton(IIT golden jubilee program)

    But to get into IIT,you have to take JEE(Joint entance exam) & top rankers (me?) usually take Engg. degree And then do graduate studies & research thereafter.

    I wanted to skip the 4yr engg .
    I will apply to MIT & Princeton ,I think.

    Again :Thanks for the info.
  5. Aug 29, 2004 #4


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    Which year are you applying for - 2005 ? If so, you will have to take JEE in next May, and you had better have started preparing (which really means going for classes). Also, if you're applying to US schools, you will have to take the SAT (unless you already have) pretty soon. And surely you are aware of the kind of SAT scores you will need, to have even a slim chance of making MIT or Princeton.

    Or, are you suggesting that you've already written the JEE and gotten through, but still want to apply to US schools ? But in that case, you'll be losing a year...I'm confused - forget it.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  6. Aug 30, 2004 #5
    Glad to know that you did your college studies in India Gokul!

    Yes ,I am appearing for JEE-2005.But compared to JEE, SAT is simple and I am confident that I can easily score >750/800 (pray 4 me!!)
    I reckon writting SAT this Nov-Jan ,How do you apply for SAT from india by mail?
    Did your school have the form?(I have send an email to SAT on this issue)
    Where are you doing your grad studies gokul?
    Thamks for the info.
  7. Aug 30, 2004 #6
    School rankings to me are all a bunch of BS. You can get just as good of an education at a public university as an education from harvard, yale, mit etc. and it costs less. Many of the professors who teach at "lower" ranked universities have their educations from the "top" ranked schools so I don't see how it can make a difference where you go. The whole college admissions process is a money making scam.
  8. Aug 30, 2004 #7


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    I'll agree with this as far as College Rankings go...but for Grad School, I tend to think it matters some.

    For a large number of students, the bottom line is recruitment and career prospects. The big schools do have a huge edge in that area.
  9. Nov 3, 2004 #8
    Rankings do actually mean quite a bit. Make sure you know what kind of rankings you are looking at. The most accepted college rankings are those by U.S. News. You also need to seperate private universities from public, bachelors from LAC's, Ivy's from HYPS, ad nauseam. Also, ratings in individual subject areas of universities are pretty much always based on the uni's graduate school, the exceptions being eng, b-school, and law school.

    Next, what are you reaches, matches, and safeties? Even with a 5.0W 4.0UW 36/1600/800/800/800/800 and three dozen different EC's, places like MIT, Stanford, Princeton, etc. are not a safety (or even a match) for anyone. Admissions to top-level universities is more resembling gambling than admissions. This is, of course, assuming perfect grades and ACT/SATs, etc. The same is starting to come true for many public and state universities, such as UC-Berkeley (OOS) and UMich (IS or OOS).

    For the most part, research and undergrad don't really go together in the same way that it works with graduate students. UMinn is the biggest state public research university in the U.S., but an undergrad there won't necessarily have more research or research opportunities than an undergrad at a smaller public school or LAC. Don't worry about research too much in selecting an undergrad university at which to get your degree.

    But, yes, the best schools for physics in general are MIT, Cal-Tech, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and probably Yale, UC-B and U of Chicago as well.
  10. Nov 4, 2004 #9
    I am applying to MIT as they have the best test taking policy for international students.(read best as least no: of tests)
    I have had my interview. I am writting my SATs on Nov 6th.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2004
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